Body modification has made a big jump to the mainstream over the past few years. Where once tattoos were rare and usually sported by fringe groups and members of subculture, now they might be found on anyone. Piercing has also become far more accepted in society at large (if not in the business world), with even exotic forms of piercing commonplace.
From implants to circumcision, branding, snail head cutting… whether peeling or pearling… any form from shaping to nullification, modification is an ancient practice as much as it is a modern one. We may lean more toward bodybuilding, rhinoplasty, and chemical peels; we may eventually become as comfortable with bionic parts as body jewelry; but our culture definitely accepts the idea.
Do you fit in?
The issues that seem to arise around the subject have less to do with modification than with approval, what is considered normal, presentable. Exploring how far we can go with our own body is liberating. Having the demand placed upon us that we modify to fit in or alter ourselves in order to be allowed to experience the everyday pleasures other people enjoy is another thing altogether.
Likely the most common form of female body modification is one you may never have considered as modification- hair removal. In the United States, it has long been common for women to remove leg and underarm hair. Mothers passed the practice down to daughters, culture chipped in its part, and now we have women who rate shaving as basic hygiene, not an exotic ritual.
We accept the behavior as normal because it is the practice we’re most used to experiencing; however, women in other countries, and women here who eschew the norm, do not always follow this practice. Because it has become such an ingrained part of our point of view, women who don’t shave are viewed as dirty or strange.
Where generations before, leg and underarm hair were where the landscaping concerns ended, now it is a growing trend that the pubic area be highly manicured, if not devoid of hair altogether. Women’s magazines have become a vocal influence, attempting to lead women to believe that in order to be considered sexually acceptable, body hair must be removed to a certain standard.
Never forget, media has an ultimate motive to sell you stuff. When they run short of real stuff, they go looking for ideas which will generate more demand for new stuff. It just happens that hair removal stories make hair removal products and services more desirable (Cause, you want to fit in, right? You don’t want to be the only one who isn’t doing it). Their advertisements join the glossy photo ads of this season’s purses, new trends in hair color, and fashions slightly different from the fashions you already own.
Thank goodness men are exempt…right?
And just in case any men reading are feeling complacent, I’m sad to report that the trends that apply to women are coming around to catch you. Be careful what you wish for. Waxing is becoming increasingly popular- and not for chest or back hair. That’s right, we’re Going There. Men are now getting their areas defrocked along with their brows and knuckles. Has the idea lost any of its sexy allure yet?
There is nothing wrong with wanting to appear well groomed. There is nothing wrong with adding a fairly harmless ritual to your personal care routine. The problem arises when this personal decision becomes a social expectation, when we begin to single out those who refuse to participate and brand them as less than because they choose not to indulge.
What’s your nationality?
Our bodies are our own. We don’t need to be perfect to be loved. And we don’t need to be fed the wrongheaded idea that a Brazilian somehow makes us special, more acceptable. If you’re getting the message that your body is unsightly, intolerable, when presented in its natural state, that is wrong.
People will have sex with hairy people, just as they will do with men and women of all makes, models, and walks of life. If some choose to limit their opportunities, well frankly, too bad for them. What kind of person rejects a love interest, a sexual interest, over a little patch of hair?
If it’s for your own hygiene, empowerment, or enjoyment, any modification is fine. If you’re doing it to please others, you’re making a mistake. If you feel you have to cooperate to be attractive, a better investment may be to seek out a therapist, to find a way to value your true self or discover your personal power, rather than to pay to bare all for another slathering of waxy goo.
In the, uh, end…
Humans are animals. We are hairy creatures. No matter how many processes you undergo to try to erase that fact, it will still exist. Biology will rear its ugly head and remind you every time.
I’m betting this is a trend and, like all trends, its hold will wane. All you holdouts can be sure that, sooner or later, the natural look and feel will become sought after because it will be rare, animalistic, and so very sexy. You’ll be able to say you’ve had it all along.
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Photo by rick @ http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=2716504